The World Anti-Doping Agency has suspended the accreditation of the National Anti-Doping Laboratory in Beijing for up to four months.
The suspension, which is effective immediately, means the lab can't perform any "WADA-related anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples," the agency said in a statement, specifying that athletes' samples would have to be tested at other accredited labs.
NPR's Tom Goldman reports that agency investigators concluded that the lab "wasn't meeting international anti-doping standards," though WADA declined to specify where the lab fell short. Tom says the suspension could be due to "problems with personnel or equipment, or urine and blood samples being analyzed the wrong way." He adds:
"An agency spokesman says Thursday's action doesn't by itself indicate widespread doping, but the timing isn't ideal considering the summer Olympics are just a few months away."
WADA's statement says the lab must take "five remedial steps" recommended by the agency and also address "non-conformities" identified in the investigation. "If the Beijing laboratory satisfies the Disciplinary Committee in meeting these requirements, the laboratory may apply for reinstatement prior to the expiry of the four month suspension period," the statement said.
Last week, WADA suspended the accreditation of an anti-doping lab in Moscow under similar circumstances. Reuters reported that the Russian lab failed "to comply with international standards."